In Vitro Fun

So, about a week ago I wrote a post about my medicine cap telling me to “Flip Off.” I thought people would think I was being REALLY over sensitive and ask me to drop the menopur syringe and step away from the blog. BUT, you guys got it. You also thought it was odd! And guess what? I opened another fresh box yesterday morning, and what did I see peeping back at me but a bright green vial top! No gray….and to my surprise, it does not say “Flip Off” anymore! In fact, it gives no directions at all. It just has some typical fertility drug name on it like “Life Plus” or some nonsense, but no directions. 

Do you realize what this means? It’s another small triumph! Every morning that I have to take that shot I am going to look at that green cap and it will remind me that maybe the tides are turning. It’s IVF, baby! In Vitro Fun!

A few of you have asked me what this process entails. It means a lot to me that people ask how it all happens. So I wanted to explain the basics – for those of you that care about someone going through it, and also for those of you considering doing it yourself. So, here’s how it goes in a very Cliff Notes kind of way.

IVF 101

  • At this point you have probably tried everything from Clomid (spawn of the devil) to IUIs. An IUI is when you are inseminated at the doctor’s office with your partner’s sperm. It’s not too comfortable and there is no lollipop afterwards. That’s about all I am going to say about that. It’s just not as fun as the old fashioned way of making a baby.
  • Assuming nothing else worked it is time for IVF. Now they need to get your ovaries to be quiet. After spending all these months, or even years, trying to get them to just contribute and ovulate, you need them to become submissive. This is called Down Regulation, and it is done with a combination of birth control pills, a daily shot of something called Lupron, and high doses of Xanax in the event that you are totally not cool with taking birth control pills while desperately trying to procreate.
  • Once your ovaries are knocked out, it is time for Stimulation. Again, not as fun as the original meaning of the word. This  is where all the shots come into play. You will take two to three shots a day for anywhere from 8 to 12 days. During this time you will get to personally know many of the nurses at your clinic, because you will be there so often you wonder why you leave at all. This is when they will take your blood to measure your estrogen, and they will also monitor the eggs development through ultrasounds. (Not the sweet kind that they rub over your belly, either)
  • If you get a good bunch of eggs, then it will be time for the retrieval. Surprise, surprise – this involves another shot!  This one is called Ovidrel and it makes your eggs get plump and healthy. But you have to be careful to have the retrieval done before the 36 hour mark, or else this shot will make you ovulate all these eggs and there will be nothing left to show after all of your blood, sweat, and tears. (Literally, you will give all of these things.)
  • For the retrieval, they give you this killer “twilight sleep.” Yes, it is as fun as it sounds. …for about 2 minutes and then you pass out. Now you are intoxicated and on a table with your flimsy gown pushed up around your knees. Just how you always pictured this special moment of conception would be. The doctor uses a thin needle and an ultrasound wand to find the follicles and extract the eggs.
  • Once the eggs have been taken, they are placed in a petri dish with your partner’s sperm. If they do not get along swimmingly on their own (HeeHee), the sperm may actually have to be injected into the egg.  Hopefully, at least half of the eggs will fertilize.
  • Three to five days later, one to three embryos are typically placed back into the uterus while you are on some Valium. The number of embryos put back into the body will depend on their quality. Remaining embryos of high quality can be cryopreserved for future use.

There are many steps in-between, and I am not even going to go into the finances, but that is the basics. During this time you may find you are told not to exercise, eat chocolate, have orgasms, drink coffee, or BECOME ANXIOUS! What a riot! Give up those things for awhile and let me know how you feel. I’m curious. Really. For these reasons, it is advisable that you do not tell someone in an IVF program that they should relax.  Just help them to laugh. To me, it’s the best way to roll with the process.

Have a happy Monday,



4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Christine on May 24, 2010 at 1:14 am

    I LOVE reading your blog….so informative, so perfectly written, so honest, cute, personal. I feel so much emotion when I read your journey. thanks for sharing. If you can live through Cushings you can live through anything. I feel in my heart you will get exactly what your heart desires…….


  2. Posted by Lelia on May 24, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    HI Sarah! keep it going girl, the reading is fantastic!
    hop hop hurray for the step achieved!!
    Much love, L


  3. Perfect sentiment. We are going for our first FET this month after two failed fresh. I’ll be keeping an eye out and rooting for you!


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